Japan's consumer prices has risen for the first time in five years in 2013, official data shows, but the rise has been largely driven by a spike in energy costs rather than broad-based spending.
Stripping out volatile costs for fresh food, prices rose 0.4 per cent, the first annual increase since a rise of 1.5 per cent in 2008, the internal affairs ministry said on Friday.
In December alone, prices were up 1.3 per cent year-on-year, edging closer to the Bank of Japan's ambitious 2.0 per cent inflation target as Tokyo battles to reverse years of falling prices.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government has put conquering deflation and stoking growth in the world's third-largest economy at the top of its agenda with a policy blitz dubbed "Abenomics".
The upbeat headline for Friday's inflation data was tempered by the fact that prices were largely driven up by higher fuel bills rather than surging demand for everyday goods.
Electricity bills jumped 7.1 per cent last year, the data showed. Japan's energy costs have soared following the 2011 Fukushima atomic disaster, which forced the shutdown of the nation's nuclear reactors.
Japan has been importing fossil fuels to plug the energy gap, a pricey option that has become even more expensive as the yen sharply weakened following the BoJ's unprecedented monetary easing drive.